What You Need To Know - BCS Rank 9-17

Posted Nov 26, 2012

Notes and thoughts for the teams ranked 9th through 17th

Top Team Notes & Thoughts

Week 13 - Part Two

By Pete Fiutak
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Week 13 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Rank 1-8 | Rank 18-25 & Ohio State  

No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2)

Last week: at Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29

Notes: It’s not that Johnny Manziel hasn’t been special – he set the SEC record for total yardage – but it’s that he’s been great and no one else has stepped up to the plate in the worst Heisman race ever. It wasn’t just Johnny Football who got the job done; this was a total team domination. However, Manziel was tremendous, completing 32-of-44 passes for 372 yards and three scores with a pick, to go along with 67 rushing yards and two scores. What’s more, he did it with a banged up knee. … Damontre Moore was surprisingly quiet with just two tackles, but the rest of the defense did its part and was able to get off the field in a hurry. Safety Howard Matthews led the way with 13 tackles with a tackle for loss. … How sharp was the offense? It converted the first ten third down plays and finished 12-of-16.

No. 10 South Carolina (10-2)

Last week: South Carolina 27, at Clemson 17

Notes: How mentally tough are the Gamecocks? Considering they really haven’t had anything to play for over the last month, and considering the devastating loss of Marcus Lattimore, and going into the rivalry showdown against Clemson with starting quarterback Connor Shaw hurting, they managed to continue to produce on the way to a terrific 10-2 season that’s BCS-worthy in any other conference. … The NFL eligibility rule is ridiculous. Jadeveon Clowney, who destroyed the Tigers with seven tackles and four sacks, would be a top five draft pick next year. …Dylan Thompson outplayed Tajh Boyd?! The fill-in for Shaw was fantastic, completing 23-of-31 passes for 310 yards and three scores with a pick. He also ran for 38 yards, but the rest of the running game sputtered. … The 12 penalties were way too many, but USC had the ball for almost 40 minutes.

No. 11 Oklahoma (9-2)

Last week: at Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48 OT

Notes: The passing game blew up, the running game was fine, and everything worked like it was supposed to and yet it still took overtime to get by the Cowboys. The defense that was so strong all season long was a disaster against West Virginia last week and non-existent at times this week. … The run defense is a big, big problem. WVU’s Tavon Austin was unstoppable, and OSU’s Joseph Randle ran at will. Why? The speedy backs are getting to the second level way too easily. No one is laying a hand on them until it’s too late. … Landry Jones threw a pick, but he was in total control at times, playing like the veteran he is with 500 yards and three scores on a whopping 71 passes. … Justin Brown had his best game by far since coming over from Penn State with 15 catches for 146 yards. Jalen Saunders added 10 grabs for 162 yards and a score. … Oklahoma isn’t going to be in for a shootout against TCU, but the run defense will be tested once again. With a win over the Horned Frogs, OU will likely be off to the BCS as an at-large team, and it’ll win the Big 12 outright if Kansas State loses to Texas.

No. 12 Nebraska (10-2)

Last week: Nebraska 13, at Iowa 7

Notes: The final stats against Iowa don’t mean anything. The conditions were cold, tough, and very, very windy. After a rough first drive, the defense settled in and didn’t allow a thing the rest of the way. The defense teed off against the run and short passes, and the Hawkeyes didn’t have any answers. … However, considering the Big Ten championship against Wisconsin is up next, there have to be concerns about how physical and dominant the Iowa offense was on its lone scoring drive. Power football worked. … Nebraska has got to stop shooting itself in the foot. It’s playing with fire with two big fumbles. … Rex Burkhead had his normal quickness again. He might have only rushed for 69 yards and a score, but he didn’t show any signs of injury. … Taylor Martinez struggled, completing just 8-of-14 passes for 63 yards, and running 16 times for 41 yards, but that was the day and the wind – neither side was throwing. … Alonzo Whaley led the team with 11 tackles and came up with the game-sealing pick, but defensive tackle Eric Martin was the star making seven tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss with a forced fumble. Iowa didn’t have any answers for him.

No. 13 Florida State (10-2)

Last week: Florida 37, at Florida State 26

Notes: The Seminoles picked the wrong time and the wrong team to start making mistakes against. The Gator defense has a lot to do with it, but E.J. Manuel has been around for too long to have missed on some of the key throws that went the other way. He threw three picks and the team turned it over five times. … The ends Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner, go into the backfield with Werner coming up with a three-sack day and Carradine generating a sack. However, They didn’t really throw the Gators off of what their offense does. The Florida running game was able to power the ball too easily. … The loss doesn’t matter. FSU wasn’t going to be in the national title mix anyway, and it still has to beat Georgia Tech and win the ACC championship to get into the BCS. There’s a chance the Noles could’ve gotten an at-large BCS bid with a win over Florida and a loss to the Yellow Jackets, but that would hardly have been a sure thing.

No. 14 Clemson (10-2)

Last week: South Carolina 27, at Clemson 17

Notes: Just when the Tigers had their big chance to make a huge statement on a national scale, pffffffft. The air went out of the balloon. For all the good things Tajh Boyd has done this season, the 11-of-24, 183-yard, one score, two pick, one rushing score day will unfortunately be a lasting image. … To be fair, it was hard for Boyd to play when he spent half the day eating grass. The Tiger O line wasn’t close to slowing down Jadeveon Clowney. … The Tiger pass rush was terrific with four sacks, and Xavier Brewer had a nice day with 12 tackles and a sack with a pick, but the Tigers couldn’t seem to get a key stop to help out the struggling offense. … Is the BCS dream gone? If Oklahoma loses to TCU, maybe not, but now it’s going to be a tough sell, especially after last year’s Orange Bowl.

No. 15 Oregon State (8-3)

Last week: Oregon 48, at Oregon State 24

Notes: The Beavers didn’t lose because starting quarterback Cody Vaz was out, but Sean Mannion didn’t exactly rise to the occasion with four interceptions to go along with his 311 yards and one score. All Oregon needs is a little bit of momentum, and then it’s over. … The vaunted run defense didn’t have the speed up front to get to the ball. OSU has athletes, but everyone always appeared to be a half-step off, and that was all the Duck skill stars needed. … It’s never a plus when a safety is making all the big plays against the run. Tyrequek Zimmerman led the team with 11 tackles. .. Nicholls State is up next to close out the regular season. It was supposed to be the kickoff to the season but was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.

16. UCLA (9-3)

Last week: Stanford 35, at UCLA 17

Notes: Don’t read too much into the blowout loss. As much as the UCLA coaching staff and players might have wanted to win, this was a meaningless game, and in reality, it might have been a plus to lose. Play Oregon at Oregon or Stanford at Stanford? Losing to play the Cardinal again is the lesser of two evils. Stanford came out and played like it needed the win. … The big concern is the total inability to get the ground game going. The Cardinal defensive line dominated the Bruin offensive front. Johnathan Franklin didn’t have any room to move, finishing with just 65 yards and a score on 21 carries. … It was a sloppy game with 12 penalties for 135 yards. Again, UCLA didn’t need this, and it played that way. … There might have been way too many plays made down the field, but Eric Kendricks was in on everything with 15 tackles and a broken up pass.

No. 17 Kent State (11-1)

Last week: at Kent State 28, Ohio 6

Notes: 11 wins? No matter what happens in the MAC championship game against Northern Illinois, the Golden Flashes have put together an amazing season that keeps getting more and more special by the week. … Give this one to the defense. How does the team keep winning? Turnover margin. Linebacker Luke Batton made 16 tackles with a sack, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Luke Wollet took the fumble 50 yards for a score, while C.J. Malauulu came up with seven tackles and a game-sealing pick six. … To beat NIU, the offense has to do more to keep the chains moving. Spencer Keith completed 9-of-20 passes for 170 yards with a score and a pick, while Dri Archer was held in check on the ground with just 53 yards on 13 carries. However, he caught two passes for 58 yards.

Week 13 Top Team Notes & Thoughts

Rank 1-8 | Rank 18-25 & Ohio State